Saturday, July 28, 2007

To Eradicate Or Not Eradicate?

I can't escape it. I am fascinated by the amount of Atheist books, blogs , and videos that are out there. On Myspace they had the book God Is Not Great by Hutchins featured for review and comment. I had a total blast just reading the comments on both sides of the fence. I gave the book a thumbs up 1) Because I'm not a hater 2) I am not afraid of the boogie man that most evangelicals are. Oh, is there a third point? Ok for the sake of pattern 3) I just wanted to be a good example. Different from the ignorant "Ye're goin' to hell" bunch that was in full force. Where's the love people?I even got a message from a kid with a mohawk rebuking me for "empowering the enemy". Siggghhh. What's a believer to do?

I wil say this, many atheists talk about eradicating religion from the planet.

e·rad·i·cate [i-rad-i-keyt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–verb (used with object), -cat·ed, -cat·ing.
1. to remove or destroy utterly; extirpate: to eradicate smallpox throughout the world.
2. to erase by rubbing or by means of a chemical solvent: to eradicate a spot.
3. to pull up by the roots: to eradicate weeds.

Pretty strong words. Why are they so strong in eradicating a made up religion. Where are the atheist humanitarians? Christians give more, sacrifice more, get off their butt more than any atheist I have ever encountered. Most atheists seem to spend most of their time trying to eradicate us, me. Not a very good recruiting tool. Their slogan? Join Us and We Will Eradicate Them!! Hmmm, not so good. Or how about "God is dead! Let's make it a family affair!!". These need work.

I'm here at Life For Youth Ranch again in Vero Beach Florida getting ready to preach/speak another week. I love speaking here because the group is so diverse. It's not a typical church camp. This is an open camp where kids of any denomination come or no denomination come or no faith at all. I at least get to make a case. For me it used to be about convincing. Now it's about allowing God to speak by his Spirit. I'm not the soul police. Truth is truth and speaks for itself. Sorry, it's the Calvinist in me dying to come out. :)

If you are reading this please pray that God will do a cool work in the hearts of students. Thanks.

Let the sparks fly!


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Can We Fire Our Youth Group?

I don't know how many timess I've asked this question but most often have agreed with it and in some cases have done it. What sparks this rant? An article from one of my marketing mentors Seth Godin. Here is his blog and then I shall attempt to close the gap.


Treating different customers differently

I've gotten a lot of email about: Sprint may cancel your service if you call customer service too often.

Apparently, about 1,000 people got this note. They weren't delinquent in their bills, but they were calling in and complaining approximately 25 times a month.

If you're going to be obsessed with delighting customers, it's a lot more efficient to focus on customers that are able to be delighted. That sounds like a tautology, but it's actually a guiding principle for successful businesses. Hire nice people and attract satisfiable, gabby customers. Why not?

These 1000 people were actually happy to be unhappy. They were unpleasable, and they weren't helping either word of mouth or the ability of the call center folks to do good work.

I think the mistake Sprint made was in only giving people one day's notice. I probably would have given them a month or so... Turns out Sprint even gave them one month's notice.

What would happen if you fired (nicely) the very few customers that take your best effort but rarely appreciate it or spread the word?


Ok, now for me to start cutting wood and building a bridge. Sprint basically sent a Dear John letter to these 1000 customers apologizing that they could not meet there needs. These 1000 customers were fired.

So, how about our students or church members? Can we fire them? I say yes and in many cases should. I know I stand on shaky ground because many of us have received pay checks from these cranky people who call the church office 10 times a month to complain about everything from the bushes to the baptismal services, from the parking to the preaching and then some. I echo with many car lots who say, "Let'em, go." The damage that disgruntled parishoners, founded or unfounded, inflict upon a church is incalculable. Like termites in an all cedar house they will eat away at everything and suddenly and with out warning the house (and the church) collapses. How did this happen? We did not let them go soon enough.

It would be better to call these folks into the office and allow the conversation to go something like this

Pastor" " Mr. and Mrs. so and so thank you for the time you have spent here at First Church. I'm sorry to see you go but I wish you well on your search for a new church."

Mr and Mrs So and So: "But we're not looking for a new church"

Pastor: "Oh yes you are."

Since churches are in the people business we should always try to work it out. But when communication fails it's better to wish them well rather than let them destroy the church from the inside out.

If it's youth ministry member, the same standard applies. I've had parents try to strong arm me into apologies because the youth ministry couldn't do in one hour a week that their dysfunctional family should have done the whole time. I wished them well, caught hell at the office and then went on my merry way.

When we're no long addicted to the paycheck and we're serious about making disciples we'll do what is necessary for the health and well being of our congregations.

Let the Sparks fly!!

Paul Turner

Monday, July 16, 2007

I Was A Youth Worker Faust

Well, I and my former intern now youth pastor interim (still very weird to think about) took our own church students to our camp this past week. I had to do double duty this year between being boys dean and co camp corordinator. I hate it because I don't get to spend as much time with students.

It was a hard week starting out. Seemed that we had two camps within our own group going. One group wanted to participate in the competition element the others were comfotable with the canoes and swimming. It was hard this year as compared to others. It was my first summer not as full time youth pastor, we had older students which made it easy, several 18 year olds and a 19 year old. It was also a sort of disconnect where I had these peer like students, even though I am still 20 years older than them. I lacked influence and authority in some ways.

It took until about Wednesday until I felt like we gelled but it all worked out.

I am currently working on a series of devotions and small group materials based on my D-Project core disciple values. It will be five books each with 5 days as devotions per topic. The five core values of a disciple are Sacrifice, Surrender, Separation (holiness), Study, and The Spirit (fruits and gifts). You can check out more on I have some friends of mine helping me out with structure and content so pray we get the heart of God on this.

I applied for a part time job today. As I said before this whole "start your own ministry" thing is hjarder than it looks. Even when you have a well laid plan, a safety net, and a support system there are still no guarantees. The hounds of heaven are committed to stay on my trail no matter how hard I run or how well insulated I make myself from mistakes. They dog me like a prisoner who just broke out of of a maximum security prison. I can see why some speakers/evangelists rely on manipulation. When their back is against the wall and the speaking gigs are not coning through they resort to fear mongering or some other tactic to increase finances.

Ok, sorry for the bunny trail. Anyway, I applied for a job today. It was at a local Christian bookstore. I could not help but feel I was signing a deal with the devil. I thought I could do this without having to get a part time job. It was a moment of surrender. A reality that said in an eerie Lee Corso voice, "Not so fast my friend". God is both working something out of me and something into me at the same time. It is easy to get discouraged but this is what I asked for, a life of faith. To trust God for the best. God has his own plan. He failed to clue me in.

Oh, a Faust? Sorry, the word comes from "the chief character of a medieval legend, represented as selling his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and power". Hope the new boss acts nothing like the contract holder in these plays writtn by Goethe.

later all,

Paul Turner

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Not As Easy As It Looks


When I went into the "do your own ministry" thing I was convinced this is what God wanted. I did not know it also would involve 3 nights of setting off fireworks for country clubs in 100 degree heat or weeding and mowing my friends lawn for extra cash. Listen, I don''t begrudge those things it simply wasn't on the agenda; as is most things that God doesn't want you to know about. I find that hard work and God are best friends and what He cannot achieve through in us through our comfort He works out in in our pain and discomfort. No offense to work mind you. So, with that said my mental cannon is reloaded for another round. Like in the movie Transformers "No Sacrifice, No Victory"

Ok, let us jump onto an entirely differnt track. I don't get to watch alot of tv but I found a new show I like called Burn Notice. It's about a spy who is get's burned and has to live in Miami. With a few spy friends cases start to pop up that require that spy touch. Anyway, love the show and it better stay on for at least a few seasons. Hate when I start to like a show and it just goes away.

I mentioned Transformers earlier. I downloaded the theme song from the movie done by the great band Mute Math. I don't remember the song in the movie though. Hmmm, gotta find out why. I also did not stay until the end credits and it may have played there.

I am done with my new brochure and July's Newsletter. Both will be available on for anyone interested.

Next movie to see: Live Free or Die Hard.

See ya at the concesson stand.

Oh, and Big Happy 39th Birthday to my wife Kim!!

Paul Turner